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Shivering in Your Home? Learn About Different Types of Heat Loss (Part 1 of 2)February 19th, 2013 by
Are your teeth chattering from the cold while you’re watching television? Does your jaw clench while trying to work in your frigid home office? Freezing inside your house during the winter is not only bad for your dental work—it’s bad for your pocketbook, too.
There are many places throughout your home where you could be losing heat. All that warmth leaking outside isn’t free, and you’ll soon begin to notice its effect on your energy bills. If you’re constantly running your heater and can’t seem to keep your house warm, read on to determine whether another culprit is to blame.
The Usual Suspect: Insulation
Heat loss often occurs because of inadequate or missing insulation. If you need to insulate a new home or want to upgrade your existing insulation, look for products with a high R-value, the measurement of a material’s resistance to heat flow. A bonus benefit of insulation is that it can help muffle loud noises from outside.
Types of Insulation
We think of it as the pink stuff, but it also comes in blue, yellow, and white. Fiberglass is the most common form of insulation and is made by heating and spinning sand and recycled glass into fibers.
Fiberglass is available in batts (large solid pieces with paper backing) or loose fill, which is blown in or scattered. Although popular, it has a lower R-value than newer forms of insulation.
Cellulose is available in different forms of blown-in insulation, from loose fill to spray varieties. Loose fill is ideal for adding insulation to existing homes and for corners and nooks where batting would be too hard to install. Sprayed-in cellulose can be used successfully as a whole-wall insulating material.
Cellulose is made mostly of recycled newspaper, so it’s environmentally friendly and inexpensive, with an R-value of just under 4.0.
Foam insulation expands to fill every corner and hard-to-reach place inside your home’s walls. Made of a mixture of polymers and resin, spray-foam insulation comes in two varieties: open- and closed-cell. Open-cell foam is softer and less expensive, and it acts as a very effective sound insulator.
Closed-cell spray foam is pricier, but its ability to block moisture makes it the best choice for attics and crawlspaces. Spray foam also has the best R-value of home insulation products, around 6.0 to 8.0 per square inch.
There are a host of less common insulation options, from eco-friendly hay bales to whole-wall insulation panels. If you’re looking for atypical in-home insulation, give a specialist a call to walk you through all your options.
Insulation is not the only feature of your house that could be responsible for heat loss. Doors, windows, siding, and even crawlspaces and attics all contribute to your home’s level of energy efficiency.
Read the second part of this post and learn more about the places in your home where you should be on the lookout for heat loss.